Bubbly from Below


Have you ever had a bottle of champagne that has spent the last year of its maturation submerged in 200 feet of water off the coast of a remote island in Southern France? The $1,900 Grand Cru Brut bottle of Abysse Blanc de Blancs from the M.Hostomme collection is the only ocean-aged Champagne that is being exported to the United States and its allotments for American consumption are limited to just 60 bottles a year. Submerged in complete darkness for 12 months at a 55-degree Fahrenheit temperature provides the perfect environment for this 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine from the Grand Cru de Chouilly vineyards.

“All sides of the large, rectangular, customized steel box in which the Champagne bottles are placed are enclosed, with the exception being the top of the box, which is a steel grate,”explains Bobby Brower Jr., president of Brower Family Wines, the U.S. importer of Abysse.

Brower Jr. continues, “The open-grated top allows the ocean water to flow freely between the bottles, creating even water distribution throughout the submerged bottles while also exposing each bottle to extremely subtle temperature and current fluctuations. Each bottle’s cork is waxed over, preventing water or oxygen from entering the bottle.” The bottles are packaged in the exact form they are found in after a year, including any starfish, sand, shells and other sea matter that might have ended up in the box. “The ocean determines the ‘label’ of Abysse,” Brower says.

More at browerfamilywines.com